5 Investments Every Smart Small Business Owner Makes
It's easier than ever to start a business from scratch without any overhead costs, which is great news for aspiring business owners who don't have the capital to start anything big. But to grow a business from an idea to something profitable, you do have to put some money into it. Here are five investments you should make to grow your business.
Every business owner needs a coach or mentor. The opportunity to tap into the knowledge, experience and connections of an expert is worth every penny.
Business coaching is a popular service to offer right now, so make sure whoever you hire is qualified. Ask for referrals, and hunt for experts who have tangible business experience, solid credentials and client testimonials. After you create a short list of candidates, hold phone screenings to choose the best coach for you.
A business mentor that will help you for free is an invaluable asset. Sure, you don't need to invest money into the relationship, but you do need to invest your time to keep the bond strong. Schedule regular meetings with your mentor to stay on his or her radar. And remember, all relationships are a two-way street. Figure out what skills or experience you can offer your mentor that will encourage him or her to keep in contact with you.
Bookkeeping and Tax Help
I know from experience that hiring a bookkeeper can revolutionize a business. I managed my own books for years, and, consequently, I dreaded every tax season. This year, I hired someone to take care of bookkeeping entirely. Now, my expense receipts are neatly organized months in advance and ready for my accountant. How's that for early preparation?
Not only has a bookkeeper saved me time throughout the year, I know this winter I'll be able to focus on expanding my business instead of hunting for receipts. If you're not well-versed in tax code you should consider hiring a certified public accountant. Uncle Sam doesn't play around when it comes to taxes, and neither should you. When you leave taxes to a qualified professional, you can rest assured you've filed the right deductions, your taxes are paid on time and you won't be surprised later with an unexpected tax bill.
A Quality Web Presence
If you rely on inbound leads to sell your products or services, a website is your first impression.
What does your website currently say about you and your business? Do you look credible? Does your headshot say, "I mean business?"
When visitors navigate to your site, it takes just seconds for them to decide whether or not you're legit. Sure, working with a web developer to create a custom site is costly, but you don't have to spend thousands of dollars to make a good impression.
If you're on a tight budget, try affordable website builders like SquareSpace.com. You can choose from plenty of vibrant and clean ready-made site templates for less than $20 a month. Or you can download the free software from WordPress.org and invest in a premium theme. Themes can cost anywhere from $20 to $100. If you want to further customize your site, you can hire a professional for small design changes that will cost you much less than a site built from scratch.
Captivating Sales Pages and Marketing Content
Are your sales pages converting? Does your marketing outreach stir up excitement?
If not, you should invest in marketing content. Let's face it. We're not all strong copywriters or a marketing extraordinaire. A stiff business page, brochure, case study or blog post doesn't cut it anymore. Customers want to engage on a personal level with you.
Ultimately, it takes skill to craft content that creates a sense of urgency for whatever you're selling. If this isn't your area of expertise, hire a freelance copywriter or marketing adviser. You'll make the money back when your new copy entices prospects to buy from you.
Assistance for the Mundane Tasks
You can only be a one woman (or man) machine for so long.
Eventually, as your business grows, the day-to-day administrative tasks of running the show will take valuable time away from other more important projects. Smart business owners know when it's time to hire administrative help to scale an operation.
Letting go of complete control may require you to change your mindset. Understand that you don't have to work yourself into exhaustion to succeed in business.
Clock your hours each week to see where you're spending the most time. If it's not on activities that flow money into your business, outsource the tasks. Consider outsourcing work such as scheduling, customer service, packaging product, vetting clients, social media marketing or answering emails. Make more time in your day to be the visionary instead of the workhorse.
As you can see, investing in your business doesn't have to cost you tons of money. Work with the funds you have now, and level up as you bring in more income. And always remember, investing in tools and services that offer you valuable information, pushes your product and makes you more productive is money well spent.
Tiffany 'The Budgetnista' Aliche is a financial educator, bestselling author and founder of TheBudgetnista.com. Through her LIVE RICHER Challenge movement, she's helped thousands of women worldwide begin to take control of their finances.